Border exceptions for 'other critical workers'

How employers can bring workers to New Zealand using a border exception.

Visa applications to work in New Zealand are now open. Requests for most border exceptions are closed except for seafood processors. You may still request an exception for these workers.

Requests for a critical worker border exception must be made by an employer, a supporting agency or an immigration adviser on behalf of the worker. Workers cannot apply directly.

Expressions of interest for most border exceptions are closed

Requests for most border exceptions are closed. Expressions of interest for deep-sea fishing crews closed on 30 October 2022. Requests remain open for seafood processors. Your workers will only receive an invitation to apply for a visa if you made a request on or before the relevant date.

Expressions of interest closed 31 July 2022

Requests for the following border exceptions are closed:

  • Workers needed for a short term role
  • Workers needed for a long term role
  • Advanced Manufacturing Specialist Worker
  • External Auditor
  • Port Crane Operator
  • Seafarer
  • Ski Worker
  • Specialist Tech Sector Worker
  • Teachers
  • Veterinarian – mixed and large animals

Expressions of interest closed 1 September 2022

Requests for the following border exceptions are closed:

  • Meat processing worker
  • Dairy farm assistant
  • Dairy herd manager
  • Assistant dairy farm manager
  • Veterinarian – general practice
  • Agricultural and horticultural mobile plant machinery operator
  • Silviculture
  • Winery worker
  • Wood processor and manufacturer
  • Wool handler
  • Shearers

Request a border exception

If you want to request an exception for a seafood processor use the Employer request for critical worker exception form.

Requests for approval of critical workers must be made by employers, supporting agencies or immigration professionals, not individual workers.

We look at all requests on a case-by-case basis.

Complete an Employer request for critical worker exception form

Note

It costs NZD $380 to request a border exception for critical workers. You can include as many workers as you want on the same request. Partners and dependents of other critical workers may be included in the request. If workers are eligible to bring partners and dependent children they should be included in the request.

Requests are generally processed within 2 weeks.

Explore visa options to work

Once you have made a request

We will review the request.

If we approve your ‘other critical worker’ border exception request we will email your worker an invitation to apply. This could be for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions to allow them to travel to New Zealand. The email tells your worker how to apply for their visa online.

Workers who are invited to apply for a visa will need to pay the immigration fee and levies (if applicable) as part of their application.

Approval does not guarantee visas will be granted to your workers. They must still submit an application by the relevant date, pay the application fee and any levies, and demonstrate they meet all criteria to be given a Visa or a Variation of Conditions.

Criteria for approved classes of workers

NOTE

Requests for most border exceptions in this category are closed. Requests for deep-sea fishing crews closed on 30 October 2022. Requests remain open for seafood processors.

A worker coming to New Zealand may be considered an ‘other critical worker’ if they:

  • are in a class of worker approved by Ministers
  • have been nominated by an authorised government agency or an industry group.

The relevant government agency or industry group will assess whether the worker meets the requirements of the class, before the worker can be nominated. For example, the worker may be required to have work experience or specific qualifications.

We do not make nominations nor accept requests to be nominated. You must first engage with the relevant government agency or industry group before submitting a request.

Approved classes of workers